LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Nevada State Medical Association is praising efforts by Gov. Steve Sisolak to slow the spread of COVID-19 and streamlining the processes for more licensed medical professionals and medical students to rush to the front lines for care.
"For me, this is personal," said Lauren Hollifield, a third-year medical student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine.
"I want to go into emergency medicine, and I know my future colleagues are on the front lines right now," said Hollifield.
Hollifield says her classmates are hitting the front lines in support roles in the fight against COVID-19.
"We're spending time at the coronavirus screening call center, taking 2,000 to 3,000 phones calls per day from people in the community that suspect they may have coronavirus," explained Hollifield.
"We go through the CDC screening guidelines with them and ask them various questions to see if they are eligible to receive the drive-thru test," added Hollifield.
The help comes at a critical time in the battle to save lives amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to a letter obtained by 13 Investigates, The Nevada State Medical Association is expressing gratitude for Governor Steve Sisolak's prevention actions including "taking the proactive steps to ease the licensure process for medical professionals who are not currently practicing in Nevada and providing a path for medical students to actively contribute to the pandemic’s response efforts."
"I have a medical license in Louisiana that I've had for 25 years, when I read the governor's declaration, hopefully people like me, it will be an easier and faster process to convert my Louisiana medical license to a Nevada license," said Dr. Marc. J. Kahn, dean of the UNLV School of Medicine.
Dr. Kahn just started his position on April 1.
Dr. Kahn previously worked at Tulane University in Louisiana and served in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005.
It was a crisis that pushed the local healthcare system to the limits.
"Clearly, there are some similarities and some notable differences," said Dr. Kahn.
"One of the most notable differences, whereas Katrina was a very local event, this is a very clearly a global event," explained Kahn.
Kahn says the governor's declaration allows for fourth-year medical students, such as those at Touro University in Henderson, to begin practicing medicine earlier than normal to fill the critical needs during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nevada.